Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Common Courtesy Day: Reminders for the road

Does this scene sound familiar?

It’s rush hour. The stop and go traffic is exhausting and you may feel your blood begin to boil when an impatient driver cuts you off.  Your first reaction may be to lay on the horn angrily and yell at the driver in front of you.

Road rage is a very real behavior that has a way of snowballing out of control. Today is National Common Courtesy Day, and KDOT would like to provide you with some tips that will help you share the road with others. Hopefully, these tips will allow you to take moment and breathe when stressful situations occur

Don’t tailgate: While driving, it is easy to grow impatient and provide “hints” to drivers in front of us that they are going too slow. Don’t bully them into going faster.  If they have to brake suddenly, you could crash into them. Try to follow the three-second rule. Pick an object on the road, such as a post or a sign. When the car in front of you passes that object start counting, if you reach that object before you count to three, you are following too close.
Use your turn signal: In any relationship, communication is important. When you are on the road you are sharing your time and space with others, even if it’s only for a few seconds. It is important to indicate your intentions. Will you be turning at the next street? Do you need to exit? Your turn signal is a valuable communication device and will help other drivers know what you plan to do next.

Let others merge:   Small, kind gestures can make a world of difference in the lives of the people around you. Sometimes that can be as easy as acknowledging that someone needs to merge into your lane and allowing them time and space to do so safely. This could help you avoid a car crash.

Be patient/Don’t be a hazard: Driving isn’t a video game. Weaving in and out of traffic is unsafe. Try to go with the flow of traffic and follow the speed limit. Likewise, try to keep up with the speed limit so you don’t become a roadblock for other drivers.

Don’t blind other drivers:  When traveling at night it is always important to use your headlights. Sometimes the situation does require you to use your high beams to see farther away. But when you see another driver approaching you should switch them to your normal setting to avoid temporarily blinding them. They’ll appreciate you for it.

Provide space and time for bikers and pedestrians:  Pedestrians who use crosswalks need time to get across the street safely.  Be aware of their position and don’t move forward until they are safely out of your vehicle’s range of movement.

Focus on driving: Distracted driving can put you and others at risk. Put the phone away, have your music selected before you drive and remember that your car is not a dressing room. 

Many of these tips are common sense but in our busy, fast-paced world it is easy to be focused on what we need instead of the needs of others.

Today and every day, as you drive, keep in mind that those who you share the road with could be dealing with a lot of stress and simply being a courteous driver could help them more than you know.

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